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What is ‘The Internet of Things’ – For Dummies

What is the “Internet of things” (IoT)? You are most probably reading this article because you are curious to know what it really is as it has recently been a growing topic of conversation. When this question is raised, the answer given by some people are complex and produce more confusion and questions. Still, it is worth knowing exactly what IoT is and its benefits as experts have predicted that by 2020, more than half of new businesses and startups will run on the IoT.

Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the Internet of Things.

What is the Internet of Things?

The first person to mention the “Internet of Things” was Kevin Ashton, the co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT. This is how he defined the IoT:

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

Did you get the answer? Lemme break it down for you. Put simply, the IoT encompasses everything that is connected to the internet. This includes everything from smartphones, smart thermostats, smart TVs, smart watches, headphones, Wi-Fi pet cameras, gaming console and almost anything else you can think of.

All of these are all everyday objects that are connected to the internet and be recognized by other devices and that make your day to day life easier. As long as the device is able to contribute info to a database, it can be considered the Internet of Things.

We have just scratched the surface of what the IoT is, however, you may still be wondering what the potential benefits the IoT are. Why would we even want everything to be connected to the internet?

Let us try to explain this in simple terms.

Benefits of the Internet of Things

One of the important reasons for designing the Internet of Things is to make our everyday lives more convenient. When a device is connected to the internet, it has the ability to send or receive data, or even do both. This capability makes things smart, and of course, for good reasons.

We earlier mentioned some devices, so let’s use smartphones again as an example. With your smartphone, coupled with reliable cable internet providers Montreal, you can listen to any song or watch any video you want. This is possible, not because you have all of them stored on your phone but because they are stored somewhere else, but your smartphone can send data (requesting for that video/song) and then receive data (streaming that video/song on your smartphone).

Thus, being smart doesn’t mean having a large storage space in your smartphone, rather, it means being able to connect to one. Isn’t that awesome?

So when it comes to IoT, everything connected to the internet can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Anything that receives and sends information: This refers to sensors such as carbon monoxide sensors, motion sensors, light, water leak sensors and much more. When connected to an IoT gateway, these sensors acquire data automatically from the environment with which we can make sound decisions.

  2. Anything that receives information and then acts on it: For example, this is what happens when you make use of your TV remote. You send a command to change the channel, or turn on or off and your TV responds. From a distance, you can tell a device what to do. So what?

  3. Anything that can do both: The of the Internet of Things is capable of doing both number 1 and 2, collect, send and act on the information received.

All three of these have a great advantage, that of relying on each other without human intervention. That said, are there any drawbacks? Yes!

Of course, this new innovation has its downside and that has to do with security and privacy threat. Currently, most IoT devices are not secured as they are vulnerable to hack attacks. Back in 2018, millions of IoT devices were hacked. However, IoT manufacturers are now paying more attention to security and privacy as they warn users to take every precaution in securing their devices.

So what now? At the moment, the best thing you can do is to continue to educate yourself more about what the IoT is and how it can positively affect how you work and live.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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